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Rajasthan political crisis: Why Congress avoided mention of floor test in its proposals

The ruling Congress has repeatedly avoided the mention of a floor test in its proposals to Rajasthan governor Kalraj Mishra for an assembly session, fearing it could be used to bring down its government and for the imposition of President’s rule in the state, people familiar with the matter said. It has publicly sought a floor test to prove its majority but has not mentioned that in its recommendations to Mishra.

“Our apprehension is that the moment we ask for a floor test, the governor will say the government is not confident of its majority and hence might recommend President’s rule,” said a Congress functionary on condition of anonymity. “There are some points in the governor’s letters to the Rajasthan government that force us to think on those lines.” He added even the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a floor test.

Constitutional expert PDT Achary said in normal circumstances, there is not a possibility of the governor recommending President’s rule on the basis of the government seeking a floor test. “There is no need to mention the floor test in their proposals. In rules, there is no provision for confidence motion but only for a no-confidence motion. Confidence motion can be any motion and brought any time in the House by the government.”

Achary, a former Lok Sabha secretary-general, said a session is mainly called by the government to transact business and it is under no obligation to inform the governor about its agenda. “His role is over once the session is summoned. The Speaker then takes over and has to control the House and conduct the proceedings.”

Another Congress leader, who is involved in the crisis management, said there is another view that the state government should move court and get a direction for the governor. “But many of us are against any such move. These are not normal times. We are living in abnormal times and do not expect favourable verdicts from the courts. So, approaching the court will be futile,” he said. “So, it was finally decided to accept the governor’s condition of giving a 21-day notice for convening the assembly.”

The Congress had decided to fight the Rajasthan battle politically and take to the streets. “Thrice, we wrote to the governor and urged him to call the assembly session. Obviously, he is under some kind of pressure from the central government to delay the summoning of the House. But one thing has happened and that is the Rajasthan governor and the BJP stand exposed before the public,” said the second functionary.

The Congress has so far claimed that 109 legislators in the 200-member assembly support the Ashok Gehlot government. “…we are very confident and will easily cross the majority mark with at least a margin of 15-20 legislators in the final count,” said Congress leader Ajay Maken.

Maken and Randeep Singh Surjewala were deputed to Jaipur this month to deal with the political crisis after former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other legislators rebelled against chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

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